Pick any major tennis championship — Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open. They all have been defined by great players who etched their place in history by pulling through in the clutch.
They’ve all been defined by greats with traits that players around the world work hard to emulate.
You can raise your game to consistent profits and a full-time income by watching the greats in the world of trading. They all have traits that are worth noting and emulating — both in style and execution.
Identifying these and internalizing them can be the difference between hacking it out around break-even or rising to greatness. You can bet that the institutional traders you’re up against have honed this aspect of their game — and so should you.
Everyone talks about this, but why do so many traders fail to do it?
The gap that sits between you and greatness
Millions of retail traders, aspiring to greatness with the trading account that follows, simply believe that they just need to copy the pros. This leads them to buy indicators and look for traders to mirror with the hope they can sit back and watch the money pile up in their account.
Before long their account is drained and they’re disillusioned — back to their day job. Hit tennis balls with a pro for five minutes and they may give you a few tips to make your backhand better. You may think you’re better, but really your game is still the same. Hit with them for a month, and they’ll work with you on your attitude. Now you can handle moments in matches. Hit with them for a year and they’ll change your perspective on how the game is played. This is the information you need to process to win consistently.
It’s the same with trading. Institutional traders would love for you to believe that you’re a new racquet, shoes or shirt away from greatness. The ‘just change your grip slightly and you’re on your way’ approach that many hacks fall for. Sure you need the basics, but this won’t close the gap between you and consistent profits.
If you’re looking to raise your trading game, understanding what makes the great traders of our time tick is a start. Modeling their behavior and approach to their business is something you can internalize over time to realize success.
Traits to emulate to raise your game
The great traders of our time have an innate ability — but we’re talking about the acquired and cultivated behaviors that they’ve learned to internalize.
At a glance, these characteristics may seem obvious. Anyone who’s been trading and struggling to deliver profits, will tell you that demonstrating these traits on a regular basis is easier said than done.
The traits themselves are no secret. Much has been published about them and they’re there for the taking — if you’re willing to make the leap.
They include a combination of attitude, approach and discipline, including:
- Effective Strategy: Having a strategy that, supported with a plan, covers all (or most) contingencies
- Commitment to the Plan: Following the plan without exception
- Understanding of Self: The ability to trade your personality
- Flexibility: The ability to adapt and apply your plan appropriately under different market conditions
- Time: A disciplined time allotment (not always full-time) for trading, with enough time for prep and record keeping
- Self-Aware: An understanding of personal limitations and weaknesses
- Connected: An appreciation that everything is interconnected, and that everything is driven by humans on the other side of trades and in markets — this isn’t a video game
- Ego Control & Willingness to Lose: The ability to accept a loss, take it early and move on without letting setbacks define them
- Focus & Discipline: Consistent adherence to regimen and process while filtering out distractions and time traps
- Hard Work: The willingness to grind, understanding that the business is built over time, one trade at a time with modest — yet consistent — performance
Reading these and intellectually understanding them is one thing. Internalizing them and incorporating them is another. A pro will tell you it’s a matter of perspective.
Appreciating the perspective that brings consistent performance
Roger Federer is considered great, not because he can hit shots no one else can — but because he can do it under just about any circumstances. Like many pros, he can anticipate what’s going to happen and he’s prepared with his response.
Many retail traders believe they can perform just as consistently, but don’t have the trading account to support this claim. They’ve heard the traits we’ve just listed, nodded in agreement, and gone about their business doing things as they’ve always done.
The difference? Planning, practice and information. The human element behind trading is embraced and managed. Successful traders invest as much time in preparation and planning as they do with actual trading. They practice under all types of conditions, in many instances with a psychologist working with them on how to control their emotions. This helps them effectively trade with their personality while internalizing a regimen.
At the core of this, it’s the information they’ve learned to process that most retail traders never see. They see exactly what’s happening in the market with every position that’s assumed and now how they’re going to respond — both strategically and emotionally. The plan and the practice helps them shelf the emotion and execute.
It’s not glamorous, but planning, practicing and using the same information the pros do will put you light years ahead of retail traders hacking it out on their own.
Closing the gap through methodology — not tricks
The difference between many players at the top is purely mental. If you were watching this year’s second round match at Wimbledon, you saw Federer dispatch a beloved English qualifier in straight sets. Truth be told, the kid probably had the game to win — but Federer didn’t even break a sweat.
Emulating the traits of great traders is a matter of sharing their perspective and approach — not copying their shots and shoes. Fundamentally, they see trading as a business, with profits that are accumulated over time following a process.
By process, we’re not talking about an equation that prints money — rather a practice or methodology that is put into practice over time.
For millions of retail traders, they simply aren’t willing to put in the time or have the patience to take this approach — which is a big reason why they fail.
Emulate the greats and build a legacy of profits
The discipline and internal toughness for many of these players surfaced with one shot — the second serve under pressure. At risk of a double fault and essentially forfeiting a point, they always managed to hit the serve with consistent speed and accuracy — placing the pressure right back on their opponent.
When facing the pressures brought to you by the market and the need to generate profits, play within yourself and your game. This will bring the calm needed to calculate high probability moves regardless of what the market’s doing.
Study the points of great traders and apply them to your own practice. Identify trading greats that have traveled the path ahead of you with a similar style successfully, and pick the parts of their game to emulate.
This will help you conquer your limitations and stay committed to your plan. It will also fuel your demand for the market intelligence needed to take on the institutions.
Don’t fall victim to the same old traps and pitfalls ensnaring millions of retail traders today. Take a page from the greats and assume your place in history as a profitable full-time trader.
Noft Traders offers a Funded Trader Program. To learn more, visit their informational page at NOFT-Traders.com.